While the UAE is a Muslim country, it is by no means a completely dry state. And thanks in large part to Dubai’s vast expatriate community, it is no secret that alcohol is freely consumed in appropriately licensed premises such as hotels and clubs. It may also be consumed in private premises.
In fact, around half of the UAE’s residents say they drink alcohol, with the average drinker consuming one to three alcoholic beverages every week.
However, due to strict laws surrounding alcohol, its sale and consumption are tightly controlled. Anyone wishing to sell and consume alcohol requires a license. And anyone flouting this rule can face serious consequences including fines and visa revocation.
That said, there is no need to fall foul of this law, as, with the right support, obtaining an alcohol license in Dubai is both fast and straightforward.
How to get a liquor license permit in Dubai
First things first, keep in mind that while alcohol can be legally consumed in the UAE, public drunkenness remains very much against the law. So, discretion is always the name of the game, even if correctly licensed.
The UAE alcohol license permit not only covers you to consume alcohol, you are also free to transport it throughout Dubai and store it in your home.
Documents required for an alcohol license in Dubai
Once a laborious process, applying for an alcohol license is now a fast and completely hassle-free process. First, you must meet the eligibility criteria. That means you’ll need to be a resident of Dubai, non-Muslim, and over the age of 21.
If you live in Dubai but your residency visa is issued by another emirate, you will need to apply for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the relevant department in that emirate. NOC’s can be obtained from the Abu Dhabi Special Licence Office or the Sharjah Police Headquarters in those emirates.
If you are on your spouse’s visa, you will also require an NOC from your spouse.
If you are not a resident of Dubai, it is possible to apply for a tourist alcohol license which permits you to legally buy and consume alcohol for 30 days. However, this can be extended if required.
Once complete, you are free to buy and consume alcohol at any authorised alcohol retailer in Dubai. There is no charge for the tourist alcohol license.
When you receive your license, you will also be presented with the Dubai alcohol code of conduct. This is a set of conditions that you must meet in order for your license to remain valid. Conditions include:
- No consumption in public places
- No drinking and driving
- No public intoxication
- Alcohol must be concealed when in public
There are several ways to make your application. Either online, in-person at any African + Eastern store, or you can choose to have an application pack sent to your home address. You can also work with a Dubai licensing expert such as Business Incorporation Zone who can manage your application on your behalf.
If applying in store, you need to visit a licensed alcohol distributor in Dubai. When in store, you will need to fill out a few details and show your Emirates ID and NOC if applicable.
You may find information online suggesting that you also need to provide an Ejari tenancy agreement and proof of earnings to apply for a liquor license. Many sites also list other documents that you are required to submit, such as a copy of your passport, visa stamp, and a colour passport photo. However, this is no longer the case. Provided you have your Emirates ID, you can make your application.
Applications are usually approved within 48 hours with licenses issued within four weeks. However, you will be issued with a temporary license while your new application is processed, so you can purchase alcohol right away.
It is important to note that these are the requirements to buy and consume alcohol in Dubai. Each emirate has its own laws and regulations regarding liquor.
In Abu Dhabi, for instance, residents and tourists can buy alcohol without a license, as long as it is for personal consumption, and it is to be consumed in a private home or correctly licensed premises. In Sharjah, the sale, consumption, storage and transportation of alcohol is strictly prohibited.
Holders of liquor licenses in the UAE must also keep in mind that it is only valid in the emirate in which it was issued.
Apply for your alcohol license permit in Dubai
If you’re armed with the right expertise, applying for a liquor license in Dubai doesn’t have to be overly complicated.
That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. And, as with any paperwork, it also benefits from an expert eye.
What’s more, it is important to note that the process is only straightforward if your account application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.
To help you ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a local specialist such as Business Incorporation Zone. Get in touch today for a personalised quote.
We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.
As well as handling license applications, we can also handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits, and visa applications required to live and work in the UAE.
When forming a new company, our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your license, visa, and bank account applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with running your business.